MORTEHOE North Devon’s deadly coast

About this route

Mortehoe is a small hilltop village on Devon’s northernmost coast. Despite its proximity to the holiday resort of Woolacombe, it retains an old-world charm and a feeling of remoteness, accentuated by its location high behind the rocky headland of Morte Point.


Getting Around

This walk starts and ends in Mortehoe, North Devon. Mortehoe has a summer bus service to and from Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. Lee Bay has buses to and from Ilfracombe.

Mortehoe (all facilities), Lee Bay (all facilities).
Several difficult climbs along the coast path, met with rewarding views.
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OS Maps

Landranger (1:50,000): No. 180 Barnstaple and Ilfracombe

Explorer (1:25,000): No. 139 Bideford, Ilfracombe and Barnstaple

For More Information

Travel Devon website


Interesting information

Starting at Mortehoe, this walk cuts across country inland to the former smuggling village of Lee Bay. On a clear day you will have panoramic views of the coast of Wales on the horizon and, later on the walk, views across Lundy.

Lee Bay is very attractive with superb exposures of rock strata around its edges. It was regarded in past times as a romantic ‘smugglers’ village’ and, because of the steep gradients all around it, was difficult to reach by road, and more commonly accessed from the sea.

At the top of the climb out of Bennett’s Mouth, you will see Bull Point Lighthouse. Bull Point features in Tarka the Otter as a place where Tarka is on the trail of his mate White-tip. There has been a lighthouse here since 1879, as a result of a series of shipwrecks. In 1852, five ships went down here.

Photo looking along the coast past rocky cliffs to Mortehoe and Woolacombe from Morte Point
Mortehoe, Woolacombe from Morte Point Copyright Martin Bodman, licenced for reuse - geograph.org.uk

You can explore more in this area

Photo of the top of a waymarking post for the Coast Path and Tarka Trail

Tarka Trail walking route

Inspired by Henry Williamson’s much loved novel ‘Tarka the Otter’ which was based on real places, this 163 miles/261kms recreation
Photo looking down on sea and beach with rocky cliffs behind

North Devon VMCA

The North Devon Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) runs for about 21 miles along the coast from Hangman Point in